Chris Brogan wrote a post titled, "Sell Without A Website," and it's about a new venture that he and his buddy at New Marketing Labs, Justin Levy, have put together called Red Pin Marketing.
If you don't know Chris and/or Justin, they are like me in that they are in the marketing business, are well in-tune to all things social media and (the kicker) know how to leverage these tools to actually move business. I've met Chris (he bought me lunch at the 140Conf break) but have yet to meet Justin, though we're connected beyond connected through social media channels.
Put it this way -- they are good dudes.
In the post, Chris talks about how he's asked Justin to "start selling" the new company, it's services, etc. Justin, according to Chris, said that he didn't have a website built and he was still in the process of developing the social platform for the company.
Chris' point to Justin was that when they started New Marketing Labs, they didn't have a website, but starting selling right away. He said it's the same mentality with Red Pin Marketing.
You can sell without business cards. You can sell without fliers. You can sell without a website. Your job, such as it is, is to sell the product or service, and to get your customers the success they deserve. You don’t need a site to do this. You don’t need anything to do it but persistence, a good value proposition, and the sense that you’ll deliver success to that client.
I agree but also disagree with Chris.
Yes, it's our job to sell our services and/or products and it's us that do that, not our website, our business cards, etc. per se that bring in sales. And yes, our customers deserve every bit of success we can bring to them as marketers. And yes, you don't need website.
However, what Chris is neglecting to mention is that Justin has a great social profile online. He's pretty well established in the social media circles -- not to mention that he is associated with New Marketing Labs.
My point is that there's already a brand awareness of NML, Justin, Chris, etc. People in the social media, marketing, PR (client or agency) know these guys because they worked hard on establishing their brand. They have a base-level to work off of.
If I started a company today, would it be successful? I'm betting it would be, but I'd have a harder time at it than Chris or Justin.
So yes, you can sell without all the mechanisms in place -- website, business cards, etc. But, you can't sell a product or a service without a recognizable and trusted brand (unless your product or service is unlike any out there on the market and you can attract those buyers that take risks).
What do you think? Is it the chicken or the egg (brand or website)?